Carey Mulligan serves up revenge in ‘Promising Young Woman’

With “Promising Young Woman,” Carey Mulligan presents a remarkable portrait of a woman whose ferocity and focus marks her as clever, courageous and sometimes very scary.
Mulligan plays Cassie, a medical school dropout who lives with her parents but mostly ignores them. Her life, we soon discover, is dedicated to revenge. What kind only slowly comes into focus.
“Cassie was a fairly mammoth task, but one I knew was too good an opportunity to pass up,” Mulligan, 35, said.
“When you meet her in the film, this is someone who’s coping with something that’s sort of akin to an addiction. She’s trying to cope with pain and traumatized herself.
“This method that’s been working for her is she will go out, pretend to be drunk. If somebody picks her up and takes her home, she reveals herself not to be. And that moment is gratifying and fills this gaping hole.
“It makes her feel better for like a day. And then she doesn’t anymore and the need to do that again builds up.”
Cassie, it becomes clear, is seeking revenge for what happened to her best friend Nina.
“This event happened 10 years ago,” Mulligan noted. “She’s definitely a particular kind of person to have still not moved on from this. Part of that is because society is so insistent on her moving on, that everybody in her life is willing her to get over it.
“But because this (event) was dismissed by so many people, and justice wasn’t served, she just refuses to move on.
“As the film progresses and more about the past is revealed to Cassie, she becomes cavalier with her life. Not to the point of being someone who has ‘lost it.’ She’s very much in control for the majority of the way she enacts her revenge.”
Mulligan, Oscar- and Tony-nominated, is praised for her indelible transformative performances. How, after 12 hours a day as disturbed Cassie, does she go home to her husband and two youngsters Evelyn, 5, and Wilfred, 3?
“I made a decision that I wouldn’t ever draw from anything to do with my own life. It’s important for me to have quite a clear boundary and that’s how I felt about ‘Promising Young Woman.’
“You can’t bring that stuff home when you’ve got little ones — and I never really have. I’ve always felt like I’ve got the best job in the world and I like to just do it — and then go back to life.”
(“Promising Young Woman” opens Friday.)

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